BENGALURU: Energy Minister DK Shivakumar’s concerns over the GVK Group’s plans to divest its stakes in Bengaluru International Airport Limited have been brushed aside by his cabinet colleague and Industries Minister RV Deshpande.
Shivakumar had expressed concerns over the deal. In a letter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah last week, the minister had stated that such a move is “not in the interest of providing high standard services to passengers, and safety and security of the country will also become a matter of concern”.
His senior cabinet colleague Deshpande, however, rubbished the allegation, saying such a move will not have any impact on the airport operations. “Just because somebody changes (on the BIAL board) doesn’t mean that the airport cannot operate,” he said, adding that in the last 10 years, BIAL has developed expertise on management of the airport.
“I understand my colleague’s concern and sentiments. I don’t think he has any ulterior motive,’’ he said. The government will not leave any stone unturned to protect interests of the international airport and passengers, he added.
On concerns expressed by Shivakumar, the minister said the BIAL board will take care of all the issues and the state government will not compromise on management, safety and professionalism. “I do not know if Fairfax has the expertise (in airport operations), but BIAL certainly has it. Anyway, the management can add expertise,” he added.
Shivakumar had asked the Chief Minister to ensure GVK Group remains as the shareholder and block the deal as KIAL will not have anyone among the shareholders with experience and expertise. He also suggested that the state government get “required control on the management and affairs of the KIAL in the interest of providing international standard service to passengers.”
According to sources, the issue is yet to come upbefore the BIAL Board. “They just need to inform the board and once that is done. GVK’s representatives on the board will be replaced by Fairfax nominees. There is no rule that a foreign company cannot hold majority stake in BIAL,” sources added. GVK Group refused to comment.